Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Seminar on 'Innovative Solutions in meeting critical challenges of Urban Elderly'

Urban living poses diverse and increasing challenges with ageing. The seminar on innovative solutions in meeting critical challenges was a precursor to an all-round response required of the State, the civil society, the not-for-profit and the industry for the urban elders. The main session discussed the problems faced in an urban set up and this was followed by a technical session wherein practical solutions were discussed to these problems such as personalized assistance for elders, assisted living, telecare services etc. Elderly from various Senior Citizen Associations participated actively in the event.

Mr. Narendra Jadhav, Member, Planning Commission gave an insight into the initiatives into consideration by the planning commission vis. a vis. the 12th five year plan (2012-17). The main points being considered included setting up of assisted facility homes for abandoned elderly in every district by the states, setting up a National Commission of elderly, Helplines (District Level) etc. Mr. Jadhav stressed that the commission is looking at focusing on pensions and income security for the aged, promoting long term savings and credit, employment after super annuation, oldest old to be given special focus and at implementing the Maintenance Act more effectively.

Since the seminar was aimed at finding innovative solutions for the elderly, some practical services were also presented. Ms. Manjira Khurana, Country Head, Public Awareness, Advocacy and Communications, HelpAge India presented the AdvantAge Card for elders introduced by HelpAge India. If you are fifty years or more, and you enroll yourself as an AdvantAge Card member, it will enable you to avail of discounts on a range of products and services. 

Of the other services discussed, one was the ‘Personalised assistance for elders’ by Mr. Kabir Chadha, CEO Epoch Elder Services. Epoch Elder Care provides professional at-home care for elderly Indians in India. They offer intellectual companionship, health monitoring and Alzheimer's & Dementia care. The services are currently available in Delhi/NCR, Mumbai and Pune. Epoch Elder Care has tied up with the AdvantAge card program and will be giving 10% discount to the advantage card members on all their services.

Mr. Sri Ram from HelpSOS spoke on ‘Tech Response to emergencies’. HelpSOS helps solve some of the basic care giving activities with interactive tools over any personal phone. Their solution offers daily wellness services such as daily care call, medication, doctor's appointment, and immunization reminders. For personal safety and emergency situations they offer automated emergency notification service. HelpSOS has also tied up with the AdvantAge card program and is providing a 12 month free special offer for personal emergency notification service to members. They are also giving 20% discount on all other published telecare services offered by HelpSOS.

The other speakers included Mr. Tom Wright CBE, Chief Executive, Age UK; Dr. Kavita Sharma, Director, India International Centre; Mr. Amal Ganguli, Chairman, Governing Body, HelpAge India; Mr. P C Sen, Vice Chairman, Governing Body, HelpAge India; Mr. Mathew Cherian, Chief Executive Officer, HelpAge India; and Mr. Arun Gupta, CEO, Age Ventures India.

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